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Old 02-08-2019, 09:15 AM   #1
NYlaker
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Default Completely Unauthorized workaround for tiny text with 4K Monitors

Disclaimer: All is not how I describe it. All I know is my screen looks fabulous but don't expect it to work for you--cause that's how life is.

Apologies if this seems obvious, but for me it took a bit of digging. In the hope of sparing others the 24 hours of frustration [note: I can be a bit of a drama queen] I offer the following:

So I fire up my new 28" 4K monitor, windows 10 suggests I scale apps to 150%. I revel in the seemingly limitless real estate in Excel, Word, my stock software and Reaper sort of looks OK but a little blurry.
: Quick searches lead me to: Preferences/General/Advanced UI system settings/HiDPi(Windows7+/Aware(experimental) [note: experimental means this feature could change at any time]. I check Scale UI elements and set it to 1.5. [note: this should not do anything but things in arrange and mixer do get about 50% bigger]

Everything is clear now, but the text is tiny. Clear, easily readable, but tiny. Back to searching and most people have bought giant screens, so I imagine tiny text is not a problem. I stumble upon a thread in pre-release forum and there's a whitetie solution theme for people with 4K and tiny screens, so it has massive text in massive elements and people with vision issues are very happy.

In typical forum fashion there are occasional mentions of changing font sizes, but the posts are years old with no details of where to find such controls. I resolve that I must use WALTER, and reading WhiteTies' tutorial I see mention of a theme editor. Of course there's no theme editor in preferences so I search again on the forum and find it's been moved to Actions.
[note: of course its mentioned in the manual but the manual focuses on color changes and doesn't mention setting sizes of fonts]'
Filtering to 'font' reveals a list of fonts that your current theme is using (some have recognizable names and some are listed as Walter##). Double clicking brings up a system font menu where you can choose any font and style you desire. The good news is that the scaled elements that your text sits in has plenty of empty space to fit a larger font. In my case increasing the font sizes by 2 and choosing bold solved my problems. There's a save theme button when you are done fiddling and it conveniently knows which theme you are working with. Unlike the UI scaling where you have to close and reopen Reaper the font changes show up immediately. I changed all the listed fonts, but none affected the VU meter labels--that's someone elses fight for another day, I for the moment am content.

Last edited by NYlaker; 02-08-2019 at 08:06 PM. Reason: changed title upon white ties suggestion, added disclaimer and several clarifications
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Old 02-08-2019, 11:31 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NYlaker View Post
Preferences/General/Advanced UI system settings/HiDPi(Windows7+/Aware(experimental).
Yes yes! But please don't forget that when it says experimental, it means just that. Its not an optimised solution, its not yet for everyone, and it is ultimately for the use of a theme that has been created for HiDPI use, of which there are very few because the correct pipeline for HiDPI theme development has yet to be finalised. Always be wary of anything from the pre-release forum unless you're willing to get your hands dirty with unfinished and potentially problematic functionality.

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I check Scale UI elements and set it to 1.5.
Nooooooo! This is an unrelated scaling experiment that vastly predates the more recent, and ongoing, experimental HiDPI support. You're not the first person to get tripped up by this, the two things being right there in the same dialog is clearly an invitation to error, obviously that is something that needs to be changed in due course.

I would be grateful if you could please retitle the thread and put in a warning that all is not as you describe it. I'm so sorry for what you've gone through, and the first and easiest thing we can do is this : make sure no one else follows you through the same problems due to this thread
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Old 02-08-2019, 12:25 PM   #3
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AFAIK Scale UI elements value is being overridden by scale parameter found in Reaper theme. This param can be found in newer themes for retinas.

Themes which don't contain this parameter, might be scaled up using 'Scale UI elements' feature. But usually it results in some unmatching gfx elements (since their authors weren't aware about this feature)

Last edited by MaXyM; 02-08-2019 at 01:07 PM.
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Old 02-08-2019, 01:04 PM   #4
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Please, it is not necessary to conjecture on this. People find this confusing enough as it is, and I have provided an informed answer.

The 'scale UI elements' checkbox is from 2007, it only operates on certain panels, it has nothing whatsoever to do with HiDPI functionality (not really a thing 12 years ago) and, given that it does weird things with many Reaper functionalities (including the new, unfinished and experimental HiDPI support) it should probably never be used by anyone ever.
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Old 02-08-2019, 01:13 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by White Tie View Post
Please, it is not necessary to conjecture on this. People find this confusing enough as it is, and I have provided an informed answer.

The 'scale UI elements' checkbox is from 2007, it only operates on certain panels, it has nothing whatsoever to do with HiDPI functionality (not really a thing 12 years ago) and, given that it does weird things with many Reaper functionalities (including the new, unfinished and experimental HiDPI support) it should probably never be used by anyone ever.
As far as I am aware, OP is not looking for high dpi functionality. He is looking for normal theme but scalled a bit up. This would match use case the 'scale UI elements' has been designed for.
If it ever worked as designed and if not working today is another story. It seems it should be removed from prefs though.
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Old 02-08-2019, 01:43 PM   #6
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I'm not clear what it is you believe you are contributing to this, but please take my word for it that users will find it confusing. I have a responsibility to correct inaccuracies on this topic, please try not to take it personally.

'scale UI elements' predates WALTER and is, in 2019, effectively redundant. The use case for it also predates WALTER, and again, it only works on certain panels. That's not to say there's no one anywhere in the world using an ancient theme with scaled settings, so it stays. Its the HiDPI functionality that will, in the fullness of time, be moved out of the experimental dialog.
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Old 02-08-2019, 07:44 PM   #7
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Default Its all wrong but it works for me

I'd like to point out that I did not pull this whole thing out of thin air. There are numerous posts on this forum that describe using the HiDPI aware option and the UI scaling check box to deal with 4k issues. I'm sorry if my thread pushed you to the breaking point on this subject, but in no case did it appear that those earlier posts had lead to the problems you are concerned with, nor were any of the posters chastised for confusing people. This morning, when I decided to resolve the font issue, I found your online tutorials and documents most helpful in tracking down how to adjust fonts in Reaper.

I hear where you're coming from, but that "outdated" "not applicable" feature allows me to scale the buttons and elements on my track where they are quite easy to find see and click on, and the text inside those elements is easy to read away from the monitor where my mikes are set up.

I've attached an image to show that one I am not delusional, and two the buttons and such are significantly larger with the UI option checked and set at 1.5 and that they easily contain the enlarged fonts that I can now read easily from my recording position. (You'll have to take my word that the image is clear and sharp before I had to shrink it for the forum 64kB limit)

From past experience, I have no doubt that I will eventually run into some obscure function that my reckless box checking will screw up. But until then I intend to enjoy my new visual Reaper 4K experience. And if you feel the need to remove the box, I'm quite comfortable staying with the current build until the powers that be resolve the whole HiDPI issue the correct way. Given that is has been brewing for a number of years, I'm not going to uncheck the box in anticipation of a proper solution.
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Old 02-09-2019, 04:36 AM   #8
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Quote:
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There are numerous posts on this forum that describe using the HiDPI aware option and the UI scaling check box to deal with 4k issues. ... but in no case did it appear that those earlier posts had lead to the problems you are concerned with, nor were any of the posters chastised for confusing people.
Indeed, I have been negligent for too long in correcting misinformation within the forum on this topic, such that now a google search will almost certainly lead to an incorrect source, for which I can only apologise. I'm trying to do better, hence my responses in this thread.

We have precedent for this : during the (long!) development of of V5's WALTER coloring functionality, it was problematic for a good while, and forum users quite rightly shared useful workarounds to turn it off. Those workarounds are still, to this day, being shared as solutions to problems that are no longer problems (google doesn't know they were a snapshot of a period in time), putting users to much effort and frustration.

The solution would be for me to jump into any related thread and lay down the facts in an unequivocal manner, till we reach a critical mass of users who know and share the best way to do things. But people really don't like being told they're wrong on the internet, particularly when they're just trying to be helpful, so please forgive me for still being a little reticent about doing it.

----

What you have done is to use pre-WALTER functionality to add a non-DPI aware scaling factor to WALTER which does indeed work, sort of, but more by coincidence than design. And, as you note, it doesn't do anything for the text so you've had to do that by hand. So you've essentially done a laborious 150% theme edit, and kudos to you for the effort. I guarantee that all that hard work will not not, eventually, be necessary; there's also a non-zero chance that it might not work that way in future.

Meanwhile, the current experimental HiDPI functionality is mostly working for most of Reaper, but the way it interacts with themes is almost certainly going to change radically. The whole HiDPI thing is taking longer than one might have hoped for, but I believe that taking the time to get a comprehensive and robust solution that works well with themes will be worth it in the long run. This leaves you, for now, with a choice of imperfect solutions and potentially temporary functionality, which is obviously annoying, sorry.

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if you feel the need to remove the box, I'm quite comfortable staying with the current build until the powers that be resolve the whole HiDPI issue the correct way.
Its cool, I assure you that box will not be removed. The way it interacts with WALTER might or might not change though, because its legacy functionality.
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Old 02-09-2019, 07:55 AM   #9
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With reference to your comment about my doing a laborious 150% theme edit, I took that to be sarcasm which I admit I was myself very guilty of in my reply to you. But if it wasn't, let me be clear as to the whole point of this thread. My solution involved nothing more than checking one box and changing one drop-down menu setting, both on the same general preferences page. The font change was only minor issue that arose when I began a recording session and realized I could not read certain things anything more distant than the normal reading distance from my monitor. (What I truly find exciting about 4K is that although the text was tiny it was still perfectly clear).

Again once I found the theme tweaker, a few clicks and font problem solved. In the final analysis, no manual editing of any configuration files or manual theme modification with walter. The whole modification goes away with a few more clicks to reverse the process. I take no credit for any original thought in this matter and am not planning on flooding the stash with any modified themes.

All as testament to the pure beauty of Reaper where accidental access to an ancient failed piece of code can instantly solve my problem with one click.

By the way the only themes I used or modified were the default 5 theme and Nitpicky 5. The only graphical anomalies noted were some buttons on the master track in the mixer which I have docked on the bottom left had wandered slightly over the border, but were still functional.

I would like to thank you for your extensive contributions to the world of Reaper and respect the enormity of the task you and the developers face in keeping pace with ever changing technologies. If I expected I would bring down the wrath of the God of Reaper themes upon my head I never have dared to post my story.
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Old 02-09-2019, 09:22 AM   #10
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Again, if you missed my suggestion (which has been put different way however) you can probably get rid of using 'Scale UI elements. It's enough to move this setting to theme config (rtconfig.txt).


The corresponding setting is called 'global_scale'. Add it if not exists. Set it up to the same value as you are using for Scale UI elements. For example:
global_scale 1.50


Since this you can disable Scale UI elements in options.


As simply as that. Due to my (short) experience, the theme should behave same way as before.


On the other side, I would really like to have 100% working option to scale a theme without need of changing rtconfig. Users have monitors of different sizes, then a theme might look better on one and worse on another. Slight changes in theme size might help a lot. It might work even with bitmap based themes.
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Old 02-09-2019, 10:31 AM   #11
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Summarising for anyone finding this thread in the future via google:

'Scale UI elements' is ancient legacy functionality that behaves more or less unpredictably depending on the theme you are using. Its best not to use it.

In February 2019 (as I type this) there is an experimental HiDPI implementation that includes the line 'global_scale' in the rtconfig, that may or may not be functional in the time you are reading this.
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Old 02-09-2019, 02:47 PM   #12
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Thank you MaXyM!
I took your suggestion of adding global scale to the configuration file.
I can now scale without using the Scale UI Elements in prefs.
I fully understand this option is also 'experimental' and all that entails.

This will at least make it easier to evaluate walter scaled themes without rebooting Reaper.
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